Thursday, March 11


After lunch I went looking through the scrap lumber bins to find the materials I’ll need to make a giant tapering sled. I started by cutting a 2x4 to length and attaching it to one edge of the piece of plywood with screws. This is a stiffener that will keep the plywood flat (it had a bit of a bow to it) and prevent the ends from sagging when they run out past the table saw’s edge. Next I joint a long cut-off strip, surface plane it to approximate thickness then use the drum sander to fine tune the width so it is a snug fit (but not too snug) in the accessory slot of the table saw. This guide bar will be recessed into the bottom of the sled and ride in the slot in the saw to keep the sled tracking straight and true through the whole cut. So the next step is to set up a ¾” dado head and cut test slots in scrap wood until I get the slot width to be a snug fit on the just-made guide bar. When the width is right, I cut the dado in the bottom of the plywood. Once again I’m wrestling with a long contraption that I have to support the far end, press the thing down firmly against the top of the table saw and keep it pressed against the fence all at the same time. But I managed it. So now I glue the guide bar into the slot in the bottom of the sled. I don’t use screws here because I’ve found that even when I drill pilot holes, the screws tend to spread the bar out just a hair and cause it to bind. I suppose I could just sand the bar a bit thinner, but then we’re into guessing at where it will end up. Besides, this is a one-use piece of equipment and I don’t want to spend too many hours in building it. Finally I add stiffeners across each end to keep it from curling up (cutting the dado in it causes it to get pretty bendy at that point) and make some positioning blocks. That completes the sled, but I won’t put it to use until tomorrow so the side piece I glued up today will have a chance for the glue to set up hard before I go moving it around. So that’s going to do it for today.
See you tomorrow!

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